Do biotech crops boost yields for organic farmers?

| | September 28, 2018
organic
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Nutrition, the environment and worker’s wellbeing are the banners of the green crusade. But, with organics charging an average of 50% more for food and 30% more for clothes, do those reasons justify the costs and more importantly, are the claimed benefits proven facts or simply clever marketing?

Data from the USDA reveals that the average organic farm under produces by 20%  and that [organic] wheat yields are lagging half a century behind  normal farms. Consequently, organic farms require 16-33% more land than usual, land that cannot be spared. In fact, if it wasn’t for neighboring conventional growers curbing the spread of pests and disease (much like vaccines protect non-vaccinated individuals) then [organic] farms would be even more inefficient.

Related article:  Fight against fall armyworm in Africa hindered by 'anti-GMO sentiment', scientist argues

Despite claims that “natural” fertilizers are more energy efficient because they do not make direct use of fuels, it has been calculated that roughly half of organic fertilizer requirements are met— through a round about, conventionally fertilized corn-cow-organic compost, cycle which is both wasteful and illogical— by the haber-bosch process.

The insecticide Rotenone, which is prohibited in the EU and US because of its extreme toxicity to fish, and Copper Sulphate— a fungicide which is linked to liver disease in workers, bioaccumulates in the soil and is also deadly to fish— are both approved [for organic farming], even though there are much safer synthetics available.

Read full, original article: Organic: It’s dirtier than you think

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